Member Publication News

Welcome to the HWA COS chapter’s monthly round-up of member news. We invite you to scroll through our publication announcements and see what our members are up to this month: new releases, book signings, readings, conventions, and more!

Marie Whittaker is pleased to announce that her story “The Legend of Lightning Lizzie” is featured in Weird Tales No. 364

Evil space plants, lecherous dragons and the mysteries of the vampire haunt the pages of WT #364. This issue features stories by Seanan McGuire, Gregory Frost, Joe R. Lansdale, Marie Whittaker, Dacre Stoker and Leverett Butts, Marguerite Reed, Rena Mason, Tim Waggoner, Gabrielle Faust, Weston Ochse, and Lee Murray as well as poetry by Linda Addison and Alessandro Manzetti.

Angela Sylvaine’s short story “Mr. Chew” was recently released on TheDreadMachine.com and The Dread Machine Podcast, Episode 5.  

Travis Heermann is pleased to announce that his story “Daubs of Color” opens the anthology Hauntings (The Haunted Anthology Book 1), edited by Jamie Ferguson.

Imagine waking every day in an old house, unable to leave the grounds because every time you do you get lost in the gray mist. What if the haunted section in the library was actually haunted? Seeing a ghost in a haunted house would be one thing…but what if it followed you home?

Step into the haunted worlds of the fifteen ghostly tales in Hauntings…if you dare!

Travis is also looking forward to the launch of his new novel Tokyo Blood Magic (Shinjuku Shadows Book 1, which is scheduled for release on December 8, 2020. 

When Django Wong, a modern-day ninja turned sorcerer, takes a job to track down a newly Awakened witch, he discovers that his target is not only his lost love, but now she’s an enforcer for the Black Lotus Clan, a ruthless yakuza syndicate.

But time can change a person. Is she the girl who used to love him, a yakuza slave, or a deadly black witch?

Josh Viola is thrilled to announce that his story “The Recall” was published in the anthology One of Us: A Tribute to Frank Michaels Errington, which was edited by Kenneth W. Cain and includes a powerhouse line-up of authors including Stephen King.

One of Us: A Tribute to Frank Michaels Errington is filled with stories of writers whose lives Frank touched in one way or another. He challenged them, cheered them on and he made sure to read the big names and small names alike.

Josh also worked with Aaron Lovett on the exclusive *variant* cover for Cover Alpha Comics edition of MISKATONIC #1, published by Aftershock Comix.

Miskatonic #1 by Aaron and Josh is available in three treatments:

  • Cover A:  Standard Trade Dress. Limited to 250 copies.
  • Cover B:  Virgin Edition. Limited to 125 copies.
  • Cover M: Metal cover. Limited to 15 copies.

In other news, Josh published “The Holy Appendix” under the pen name Jay Vee at Birdy Magazine. This piece stands as an anecdotal testament to the influence evangelicalism has had on Josh’s horror fiction.

Shannon Lawrence and her co-host M.B. Partlow launched a new podcast in November! Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem is about true crime, the paranormal, cryptids, and other freaky things. A new podcast is released each Wednesday.

In November, Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem released three episodes: Cold Blooded Colorado Springs, Colorado Creatures and Hell Haunts, and Killers on Home Turf. Scheduled podcasts for December include The Devil Tramps and the Cryptids Creep, Coastal Killers & Haunts, and Do the Kansas Gates of Hell Lead to Gorbals Necropolis?

Carina Bissett is excited to announce the release of the HWA Poetry Showcase, Vol. VII. This year, she was one of the judges along with Gwendolyn Kiste and editor Stephanie M. Wytovich.

The Horror Writers Association presents their seventh annual Poetry Showcase, featuring the best in never-before-published dark verse. Edited by Stephanie M. Wytovich, this year’s featured poets are K. P. Kulski, Sarah Read, and Sara Tantlinger, plus dozens of poems from the talented members of the Horror Writers Association.

J. A. Campbell has a reprint of her story “The Toy Maker” in the holiday-themed anthology A Christmas Cornucopia, edited by Anna Rashbrook.

Every winter Nicholas journeys to the city to sell his clever mechanical toys. This year is no different, except a snowstorm delays his return to his ailing wife. When he is finally able to travel, he meets people who guide him toward a new, and promising calling. —“The Toy Maker”

Member Publication News

Welcome to the HWA COS chapter’s monthly round-up of member news. We invite you to scroll through our publication announcements and see what our members are up to this month: new releases, book signings, readings, conventions, and more!

Shannon Lawrence is pleased to announce the release of her holiday-themed short fiction collection Happy Ghoulidays. (Book Launch Nov. 9-19.)

Family time can lead to murder and mayhem, especially during the holidays. A turkey with a tale to tell, elves under attack, sorority sisters putting on a killer party, a woman’s desperation to save her family, and a stranger ringing in the New Year. These and other tales of woe await you beneath the mistletoe.

Be careful who you offer a kiss. It may be your last.

Marie Whittaker is thrilled to announce the release of Betsy and the Time Ship, the third book in the Shadowgate Tales.

Sam isn’t sure what to make of Betsy, the woman from another time, far ahead of his own. But he needs her and her time ship Mabeline to complete his mission. The Order of the Terminers faces unknown terrors, back in 1872, at Shadowgate Stonehenge. To complete their mission, they must exterminate a family of witches. Will Sam be able to complete the task?

Marie Whittaker also published There’s a New Kid, Lola Hopscotch!, book three in The Adventures of Lola Hopscotch—a book series dedicated to helping children fight and overcome bullying.

A favorite wintertime read-out-loud story for kids! Lola Hopscotch makes a new friend at school, and helps the new kid feel comfortable with others in this exciting new book in The Adventures of Lola Hopscotch picture book series for children.

Carina Bissett’s humorous horror story “The Stages of Monster Grief: A Guide for Middle-Aged Vampires” was recently released in Coffin Blossoms. an anthology published by Jolly Horror Press in October 2020. She read this piece at the inaugural Bloody Valentine event in Colorado Springs.

Coffin Blossoms. A reminder that hope does spring eternal. In death itself there is often beauty, life, and on rare occasions even humor. The twenty-four stories in this anthology straddle the line between humor and horror in unique ways.

Claire L. Fishback is pleased to announce that her second short story collection, The Doll Room and Other Stories was published by Dark Doorways Press in October 2020.

A room with many small doors, a dream hitchhiker, furniture that moves by itself. A middle-aged housewife who desperately wants to be noticed. A child who collects macabre items. In these pages you’ll find strange encounters, dolls with secrets, and creepy children. Haunted ears. A long-lost daughter come home. Nightmares come true.

Angela Sylvaine’s short story “Here We Come A Caroling” was released in October in Gothic Blue Book VI: A Krampus Carol.

A collection of short horror stories and poems resurrect the spirit of the Gothic Blue Book. Gothic Blue Books were short Gothic fictions popular in the 18th and 19th century. Burial Day Books presents its sixth Gothic Blue Book, A Krampus Carol — a celebration of folklore and myth around Christmas, Yule, the cold winter months and Santa Claus’ opposite, Krampus.

In other news, Angela Sylvaine‘s story “Antifreeze and Sweet Peas” was included in the highly-anticipated anthology Not All Monsters: A Strangehouse Anthology by Women of Horror, edited by Sarah Tantlinger.

M. H. Boroson released The Girl with No Face, the second novel in The Daoshi Chronicles. The adventures of Li-lin, a Daoist priestess with the unique ability to see the spirit world, continue in the thrilling follow-up to the critically-acclaimed historical urban fantasy The Girl with Ghost Eyes. The novel won First Prize in the Colorado Authors League Award, Science Fiction and Fantasy Category.

With hard historical realism and meticulously researched depictions of Chinese monsters and magic that have never been written about in the English language, The Girl with No Face draws from the action-packed cinema of Hong Kong to create a compelling and unforgettable tale of historical fantasy and Chinese lore.

Sam Knight’s story “Shattered Piece of Heaven” was recently released in the anthology Castle of Horror Anthology Volume 4: Women Running from Houses.

The theme is Gothic– the horror of Gothic romance. Throughout the mid-century, paperback Gothic romance books dominated the shelves, always featuring a woman running away from a house. Gothic romances tended to tell stories of women coming into conflict with old families, old houses and old traditions. So we’ve asked a bevy of best-selling writers to celebrate the movement with their own horrific takes on gothic. Run from the house with us!

In other news, Sam Knight‘s story “Leaving Dry Gulch on the Midnight Train” was published in the anthology Six Guns Straight From Hell 3: Horror & Dark Fantasy From the Weird Weird West, edited by David R. Riley and J. A. Campbell.

Saddle up for a wild ride through the weird, weird west. As you ride our trails you’ll want to keep one eye on the path ahead and one over your shoulder cause there’s a bushwhacking monster creeping up behind you.

Rick Duffy is thrilled to announce his new novel, The Sigil Masters, a young adult fantasy adventure. The novel won the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Gold.

Strange magics, a secret history, and new friends await him on his desperate quest to unravel the mystery of his curse. If he’s caught, his mind will be ripped open and corrected, changing how he thinks and feels and remembers. But he’s hunted by a power-hungry madman who believes the curse holds the key to ushering in a new paradise—or plunging the lands into darkness and war.

Fleeing the very shadows of death, forced to choose between fate and friendship, can the ill-fated boy find a light to save them all?

In other news, Rick Duffy‘s short story, “Castles in the Sky” was recently released in WILD: Uncivilized Tales from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

Fearless or feral? Liberating or life-threatening? The wild side of life takes many forms. It seeps through the cracks of our world in the form of stray cats, tenacious weeds, oppressive relationships, and haunting memories. These fourteen stories by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers explore the wildness that lives inside all of us—and what happens when we let it out.

It Came from the Multiplex: 80s Midnight Chillers, edited by Joshua Viola and published by Hex Publishers, contains 14 cinema-inspired stories by such notable writers as Angie Hodapp, Kevin J. Anderson, Stephen Graham Jones, Warren Hammond, and Steve Rasnic Tem.

“The universally well-paced, imaginative selections sizzle with energy, delivering an intoxicating blend of spine-tingling chills and 80s nostalgia.”

—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, STARRED REVIEW

In other news, the Hex Publishers’ anthology Psi-Wars: Classified Cases of Psychic Phenomena, also edited by Joshua Viola, has received rave reviews. You can read an excerpt from the story “Cradle to Grave” by Angie Hodapp at Tor.com.

From Atlantis to the Third Reich and beyond, these thirteen original tales of cerebral science fiction and horror explore the evils that abound when humanity wields extraordinary minds as weapons, whether to wage war or prevent it. Steeped in psychic savagery, telekinetic combat, and extrasensory espionage, PSI-WARS imagines corrupt governments and daring operatives, gods and soldiers and hackers and spies. The authors don’t flinch when they peer around the darkest, most violent corners of the human psyche. Will you?

Dakota Brown recently released Siren’s Catch: A Reverse Harem Tale (Ocean Enchantment Book 1).  

Sirens destroyed everything I loved. My family, our offshore fishing business, and my life. I swore revenge and made it my mission to take everything they had taken from me, killing them one by one until there was nothing left but blood in the water. Cue Poseidon, god of the sea, livid that I’d killed off the protectors of his domain.

This book is intended for mature audiences. 18+ readers only! It contains language and sexual situations. This is mermaid themed medium burn reverse harem where the girl gets all the guys. Why Choose?

Writing for a Themed Anthology

In 2019, the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW) put out a submission call for a then unnamed anthology focusing on the theme WILD. The editors, Natasha Watts and Rachel Craft, accepted all genres—realistic or speculative, contemporary or historical, literary or commercial. The only caveat was that the stories needed to be short fiction (1,500-6,500 words), and writers had to be members of RMFW. The editors received 78 submissions, and eventually narrowed it down, eventually settling on the final stories by how they complemented each other. Interestingly enough, three of the 14 stories selected for the anthology WILD: Uncivilized Tales from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers were written by HWA members: Carina Bissett, Rick Duffy, and Angela Sylvaine. With the current open submission window for the HWA members-only anthology Other Fears – An Anthology of Diverse Terrors, I thought it might be interesting to see how different authors approached the challenge of writing to a specific theme.

CARINA BISSETT

I always have good intentions when I see submission calls of interest, but I am an agonizingly slow writer. By the time I fully flesh out an idea, it is usually months, if not years, from the original call that inspired the concept in the first place. In this case, inspiration struck more than a year before the call for WILD was even issued. In August 2018, a massive hail storm wrecked havoc on Colorado Springs and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Softball-sized hail destroyed several structures, hundreds of parked cars, and killed a few of the exhibits’ animals. Luckily, the giraffes were spared serious damage. However, this had me thinking of the purpose of zoos and the fact that giraffes had just quietly slipped on Critically Endangered list. The end result was the story “An Authentic Experience”—a story about a zookeeper and the animals he cares for after Earth had been destroyed by an alien civilization. In all honesty, I just wanted the giraffes to have a chance to fight back, and I worked on the story with the image of a giraffe modified with teeth sharp enough to sever an obnoxious kid’s arm. I never thought this odd sci-fi/horror short would find a home. But then I saw the themed call for “stories of rebellions, escapes, and shattered boundaries,” and decided to submit.  

This is not the first time I’ve written a story that ended up being picked up for a themed anthology. My first professional story was a piece I’d written to a fairy tale prompt in 2015. I never thought this gender-bent, eco-fic, mash-up of “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter” would see the light of day, but a year later it ended up being the sole story selected from slush for the powerhouse anthology Hath No Fury. The submission called for strong female protagonists defying fantasy stereotypes. I figured “A Seed Planted” was close enough, and it turned out I was right. This piece has since been translated into Japanese and was featured this summer in Night Land Quarterly, Volume 21: “The Fantasy of Sky Realms.”

A similar thing happened with my second professional sale. Pantheon Magazine put out a call seeking short pieces based on the theme of transformation for the anthology Gorgon: Stories of Emergence. I had grand ideas of writing a modern horror story based on the Arachne myth, but simply ran out of time. Instead, I submitted “Burning Bright,” a weird piece of flash about tygers, ladies, and the cycle of violence. Not only was it accepted for the anthology, but it recently received a mention by Ellen Datlow in the opening pages of upcoming release of The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Twelve.

Ultimately, I’ve decided that it’s best to write the stories that call to me, regardless of whether or not I think they might be marketable. I polish those pieces and hoard them like a dragon safekeeping gems. And then, when a submission call comes along that brushes up against the theme or mood in one of those stories, I send it out. No agonizing creative stress. No last minute panic. I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s been a winning strategy for me so far.

CARINA BISSETT is a writer, poet, and educator working primarily in the fields of dark fiction and fabulism. Her short fiction, essays, and poetry have been published in multiple journals and anthologies. Her work has been nominated for several awards including the Pushcart Prize and the Sundress Publications Best of the Net. Links to Carina’s work can be found at http://carinabissett.com.

RICK DUFFY

When the call for submissions came for Wild, RMFW used words like fierce, out-of-control, feral and rebellious. Any genre allowed. I’d been working on a cross-genre short story (scifi/horror/disco – I’m not kidding), with robots and explosions and a dash of gore. That sounded like a fit, so I sent it in.

At the same time, I had been stretching my boundaries with a very different short, written from a female PoV in present-tense, both of which I’d never done. It did not contain explosions, and none of the characters get so much as a paper cut. But it did deal with boundaries and personal rebellion and growth. So I sent it in along with the other (Wild allowed multiple submissions.)

To my surprise, they accepted the second over the first. They felt it was a better fit. That’s the thing about anthologies: you can never be sure what a fit is.

My scifi/horror/disco may be the best thing since eggplant parmigiana (or the worst, if you don’t like eggplant) but the editors need to select and arrange a series of stories that don’t just work as individual shorts, but work and flow together. You could send in a fantastic horror short, but if the editors have already gotten two others with the same basic theme, they may reject yours simply because they need more variety.

The moral of the story is if you think you have a story that you can kind of, even if just a little, justify as matching an anthology’s specs, but you’re not sure, considering sending it anyway. If it’s rejected, don’t take it as a stake to the heart. It may have been nudged out because of the overall framework of the anthology and not because of anything about your writing or imagination.

My story is “Castles in the Sky”: A young woman leaves home for the city to follow her dreams—literally. I think its placement gives the anthology a nice contrast from physical wildness to a more abstract take. Since then, I’ve focused on publishing my first novel, The Sigil Masters, a young adult fantasy adventure, and am working on the second book in that series. Maybe anthologies also help bring visibility to your other works and I should submit to more of them. If not, they are good practice in writing different genres and dealing with different markets. In any case, I will always make room for shorts.

RICK DUFFY is a writer of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. His novel, The Sigil Masters, won the 2018 RMFW Gold in the young adult category. He lives in a peaceful Denver suburb opposite the magnificent Rocky Mountains. Connect with Rick at rickduffy.com.

ANGELA SYLVAINE

The theme for the RMFW anthology was an appealing one- Wild. So much can be done with this concept, and I decided to write a new story specifically for the call. I really enjoy writing new work based on story calls and find it’s a great way to get inspiration. A mixed genre anthology can be challenging for a horror writer, and I took the strategy of drawing the reader into a story that may not seem like horror at first. In other words, trick them. I am a big fan of young adult horror, and “Pruned” follows a teen girl growing into her powers over nature. When she loses control and harms someone she loves, she pledges to deny her true self and reject her powers. The addition of a domineering uncle and raging hormones make controlling herself harder than she’d hoped.

Since submitting to this anthology, I’ve continued to focus on short fiction. 2020 has been a challenging year for many writers, and early on in the pandemic I decided to stop working on novel length fiction. The effort was causing me great stress and just wasn’t much fun. This allowed me to be more productive on the short story front, which has been very gratifying. I have several stories upcoming, including “Here We Come A-Caroling” in Gothic Blue Book: A Krampus Carol, “Starved” in Consumed: Tales Inspired by the Wendigo, and “Midnight Snack” in Campfire Macabre. I’m also very proud to have just been upgraded to active status in the HWA. This was a big personal goal of mine, and I’m excited to be able to vote on the Bram Stoker Awards for the first time.

ANGELA SYLVAINE is a self-described cheerful goth that still believes in monsters and always checks under the bed. She holds degrees in psychology and philosophy. Her work has appeared in multiple publications and anthologies, including Dark Moon Digest, Places We Fear to Tread, and Not All Monsters. A North Dakota girl transplanted to Colorado, she lives with her sweetheart and four creepy cats on the front range of the Rockies. Connect with Angela at angelasylvaine.com.

Listen to five of the authors (including Carina Bissett and Angela Sylvaine) read from their stories at WILD: Uncivilized Tales – Five Readings.

HWA COS Members at MileHiCon 52

Several founding members were on panels and offered readings at MileHiCon 52 (October 23-25). We’ve gathered them here for your enjoyment.

Carina Bissett

Panel: (Moderator: Stant Litore/ Panelists: Carol Berg/Cate Glass, Carina Bissett, Ian Brazee-Cannon, Jane Lindskold) How does one build a believable mythology? Panelists offer tricks and tips for building your own SF&F mythology. Watch the panel Building SF&F Mythologies HERE.

Panel: The Modern Age of Poetry (Moderator: Robert S. Rice/ Panelists: Dana Bell, Carina Bissett, Steve Wahl, Wendy Van Camp) Poetry Seems to be undergoing a resurgence or a renaissance, including in SF/Horror. Panelists discussed what and who is up and coming and their thoughts on the resurgence.

Travis Heermann

Travis Heermann reads the intro from his upcoming urban fantasy novel, Tokyo Blood Magic. When a ninja sorcerer takes a job to track down a newly Awakened witch, he discovers that his target is not only his lost love, but now she’s an enforcer for the Black Lotus Clan, a ruthless yakuza syndicate. But who is she now? The girl who used to love him, a yakuza slave, or a deadly black witch? You can watch the reading HERE.

Panel: (Moderator: Daniel Dvorkin/ Panelists: Jonathan Brazee, Travis Heermann, Mur Lafferty, Vennessa Robertson) A panel of authors who are also martial artists and military combat veterans discuss writing fight scenes and battles that sparkle with verisimilitude, including Do’s and Don’t’s. Watch the panel Real Combat: Fantasy vs. Fighting HERE.

Shannon Lawrence

Shannon Lawrence reads a section of her YA story “Awakening” from the music-based anthology Of Mist and Magic. The story was inspired by the orchestration of “Life After Life” by Phillip Lober.

Panel: (Moderator: Shannon Lawrence/ Panelists: Rebecca Lee, Fred Poutre, Vennessa Robertson, Lauren Teffeau) Crickets? Lab grown meat? What will the food sources of the future look like, and what are the alternatives to the traditional meat and potatoes now? Watch the panel Alternate Food Sources HERE.

Panel: (Moderator: Shannon Lawrence/ Panelists: Cory Doctorow, Daniel Willis, Brenda Hardwick, Jim Henderson) There are a million ways to self-publish these days. From giants like Amazon to going it on your own, what makes the most sense and what are the downsides to each? Watch the panel Amazon KDP & Other Publishing Platforms HERE.